Don't blame West's central banks, UK's Osborne tells struggling emerging nations

LONDON/HONG KONG Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:26am EST

LONDON/HONG KONG Feb 20 (Reuters) - Emerging nations would be wrong to blame their problems on Western central banks, and should focus on building up economic resilience through domestic reforms, British finance minister George Osborne said on Thursday.

Speaking in Hong Kong en route to a meeting in Australia of the finance ministers of the G20 developed and developing countries, he noted concerns about recent volatility in emerging markets.

"I can see that it is tempting for some to blame Western monetary policy for economic problems in some emerging markets, but this is neither accurate nor useful," he said.

"Not accurate because, while tapering of U.S. monetary policy in response to a strengthening domestic recovery may have been the trigger for instability, it is not the real cause."

The U.S. Federal Reserve's move to curb some of its massive monetary stimulus has unsettled emerging markets in recent months.

Worries about global economic imbalances and the end of cheap central bank money have been exacerbated by political crises in Turkey, Argentina and - most notably - Ukraine, triggering a sell-off in emerging market assets.

But Osborne said emerging economies with stable domestic politics and which had implemented economic reforms were being spared the worst of the turmoil.

Argentina and Turkey are both members of the G20.

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